New World Record: Mickey Mantle Card Sold For $5.2 Million

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CBS News

Purchased by Rob Gough on PWCC Marketplace, a Mickey Mantle Card was sold for $5.2 million, breaking the world-record for highest price ever paid for a baseball card.

Baseball-Reference.com states, “A baseball card is a type of trading card, usually printed on cardstock but in some cases on some other type of material. The cards normally have a picture of a baseball player, or a group of baseball players, on the front, and some biographical information, statistics, or advertising on the card backs.”

Collecting baseball cards, originally starting out as a hobby first produced in 1886, has now become a multi-million dollar industry. The condition, scarcity, and printing variations of a card all determine it’s worth. Signed cards from the players themselves also sell for a higher value. Some cards sell for a cent, others for millions. Depending on the centering, corners, edges, and surface of a card, baseball cards are sorted into categories. 

From worst to best, the ranks are PR (Poor), FR (Fair), GD (Good), VG (Very Good), VG/EX (Very Good to Excellent), EX (Excellent), EX/MT (Excellent to Mint), NM (Near Mint), NM/MT (Near Mint to Mint), MT (Mint), and GEM MT (Gem Mint).

The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Card received one of the highest possible grades, Mint, meaning that the condition was almost as good as the day it was printed. There are only six Mickey Mantle cards in the world with a grade as high as Mint. To top it off, 1952 Topps cards are extremely scarce and valuable as they were the first annual set from the company, Topps.

The previous record was also a Mint grade card. The record had lasted for about 4 months and was a signed Mike Trout rookie card that sold for $3.9 million at the 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Series to an unidentified buyer in August.

According to Indystar.com, “The process of tracking down the rare card involved reaching out to specialized card dealers and auction owners. After an exhaustive search, Gough said Jesse Craig, Director Of Business Development for vintage card company PWCC reached out to him about a PSA 9 Mickey Mantle that was being stored in their vault.”

“As a kid this card was the most iconic card ever,” Gough said. “It’s always been the face of the hobby, the card that everybody knows.”